WDBJ7 honors players, coaches at 36th annual Friday Football Extra banquet

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) -- The Roanoke Country Club was our host, as coaches and players from across the region traded in their helmets and pads for shirts and ties, with plenty of hardware ready to be dished out.

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Over the course of the season, WDBJ7 named 15 players of the week, highlighting the top performers each Friday night, from opening week to the state championship.

Radford senior Ben Cox was awarded the 2019 Lee Cook Lineman of the Year award. Cox recorded 62 tackles, 11.5 for loss and 6.5 sacks on D, and 134 pancake blocks on the O-Line in his final season as a Bobcat before he heads to Vanderbilt to play in the SEC.

"I've worked hard for everything I've accomplished and obviously I've had some blessings and everything to help me get through it, but definitely whoever comes up, I want them to help continue the legacy," Cox said. "We had a great O-Line this year, and I want the guys to keep working hard and do their thing and get better."

William Byrd senior Logan Baker won the Noel C. Taylor Scholarship, boasting a 4.1 GPA that puts him at the top of his class.

"One of my favorite things about football is that it goes too fast for you to knock down and stay down, so you gotta' get knocked down and get back up, and it's all about the next play, so you gotta' have a short memory," Baker said. "I think that's pushed me especially in the classroom and off the field because you do bad on a test, you just gotta' roll with the punches and do better on the next one."

We honored four coaches of the year as voted on by their peers for their accomplishments this season: Heritage coach Brad Bradley, Lord Botetourt coach Jamie Harless, Galax coach Mark Dixon and Salem coach Don Holter.

"I accept that on behalf of our players and our great community and school," Holter said. "I'm fortunate to have been a part of Salem for so long, and now I had an opportunity to coach them, but to be voted by your peers, guys you work, play against, it's quite an honor."

Finally, we recognized a Team of the Year, and who else, but the Class 2 state champion Appomattox County Raiders, who earned a $500 gift for the program after taking home their fourth state title in five years.

"Tears of joy, just from realizing that it was the seniors' last game ever in high school and it just felt great at the same time, just realizing that we just won another state championship," said Raiders senior Jaheim Scruggs.

"You want to see teams and kids go from one point to a better point in their life, and so that was a blessing we had this year to watch this team grow," said Appomattox County head coach Doug Smith. "Not only for football, but for the rest of their life."

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